The Indianapolis Canal Walk, located just west of downtown Indianapolis in White River State Park, is a great Indianapolis attraction for Indianapolis kids and adults alike; the Indianapolis Canal Walk serves as a true connection between the serenity of the park and the bustle of downtown. One of the many features of the White River State Park and the Canal District of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Canal Walk serves as a recreational and entertainment experience for residents of the Circle City.
The canal has a three mile walkway alongside the remnants of the original Central Canal, which runs from the White River State Park north to 11th Street. The original Central Canal was intended to be part of a large-scale Indianapolis business project envisioned to improve transportation and shipping methods throughout Indiana through a series of canals. Due to a lack of proper funding for the project, the Indianapolis portion of the canal was never connected with any additional canals in Indiana; it was eventually acquired by the Indianapolis Water Company. The Water Company would use the canal for various power production activities until it was deeded to the city of Indianapolis in 1976.
1985 would bring a revitalization of the canal, with draining and rebuilding projects improving its usability. The canal was lowered and rebuilt with concrete to support the bottom and banks of the canal. Once filled, the canal was declared ready for public use and renamed the Indianapolis Canal Walk.
The Indianapolis Canal Walk is now a vibrant area of the downtown scene and is a prime spot for Indianapolis hiking, biking, and trail walking, in addition to jogging, rollerblading, and overall relaxation and enjoyment of the waterway. A variety of interesting architecture awaits canal visitors along the waterside promenade, like fountains, waterfalls, bridges, and murals done by Indianapolis artists. Several benches and a covered picnic area are also available for those who would like to sit back and enjoy the beautiful and serene environment that the Indianapolis Canal Walk provides.
In addition to activities alongside the waterway, visitors can choose from a wide selection of watercraft available for rent. Double and single peddle boats, kayaks, and Barracuda water vehicles are available to rent so you can take in all the sights lining this historic waterway. Bicycles and surreys are also for rent, allowing visitors to explore the park at their own pace.
If a guided tour is more your speed, guided Segway tours are available for those who seek a more in depth exploration of the canal area. Gondola rides are also available for an old world waterway experience.
Also, for additional entertainment in the canal area, there are several of the best Indianapolis restaurants available for hungry canal visitors. The Indiana State Museum and Indiana History Center both have cafes open to the public. A food court is also available in the Indiana Government Building off Ohio Street. Also, the canal provides lunchtime entertainment during the summer months with a series of daytime concerts on the canal sponsored by the Indianapolis Parks Department. These events feature Indianapolis bands and are a favorite for the whole family. Story telling sessions put on by the Indiana History Center are also an entertainment option in the summer.
So the next time the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and you’re looking for a peaceful walk outside, consider heading down to the Indianapolis Canal Walk for an afternoon of sights, sounds, and smells.
The Indiana State Museum on the Canal Walk
A Paddle boat corral and fountain on the Canal Walk
The NCAA Hall of Champions is also on the Canal Walk
Indianapolis Canal Walk
Indianapolis, IN 46202